Upper Arlington wins state championship
After getting acquainted as members of the Upper Arlington rugby sevens club team, Jaime Barlow and Allan Hanson will become roommates later this summer as students and players at Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit University.
They'll always have at least one memorable moment to share -- they were part of Ohio's first state championship team.
On July 21 at Westerville Central High School, UA defeated Westerville North 40-7 in the championship game of the eight-team state tournament.
Barlow had one try in the state final as UA went 5-0 on the day.
Hanson, a 2012 Hudson graduate who moved to Columbus in early June and then joined UA's team, scored the first two tries of the state final.
"It's awesome," said Barlow, who played scrum-half and was a captain for UA. "There were only two guys on the team that played last summer with me. We all hang out and we're all buddies and play football together. We have a lot of guys that can score, so that definitely helps out."
The Columbus Olympic Rugby Conference (CORC) was created a year ago with six teams, and the league had seven teams this summer.
Also competing in the inaugural state tournament from the CORC was Westerville South, while the other participants were Brunswick, Cincinnati, Cleveland St. Ignatius, Hudson and Lakewood.
Rugby sevens games are comprised of two seven-minute halves. There were three rounds of pool play before the championship round.
In state semifinals, UA defeated Cincinnati 31-14 and Westerville North beat Westerville South 19-17. Westerville South defeated Cincinnati 24-5 in the third-place game.
In the state final, UA led 21-0 at halftime and built a 33-0 lead.
Jack Trabue, Corey Johns and Taylor Meyer scored the other tries for UA.
Also on the team were Bobby Hamilton, David Kozar, Ryan McShaffer, Leo Pappas, Jack Shalvoy, James Trabue and Matt Young.
Hanson and Barlow are receiving scholarship money to play rugby for Wheeling Jesuit, which is returning to the field after an 18-year absence.
"I moved here after the (spring rugby) season and I've never won anything in my life," said Hanson, who spent time this season at both defender and hooker. "We play really technically sound."
During the regular season in the CORC, UA placed third with 25 points (8-4) behind Westerville North (33, 11-0) and Westerville South (27, 8-4). Pickerington (17, 5-7), Licking Valley (13, 3-8-1), Dublin (11, 2-8-1) and Gahanna (9, 2-7) rounded out the standings.
Barlow had 76 total points and was named CORC Player of the Year.
Barlow and Hanson credited the team's work ethic throughout the hottest weeks of summer in helping with UA's endurance during the state tournament.
Mike Coughlin was UA's head coach, with Joe Herrbach serving as an assistant.
In mid-June, UA placed second and played five games in one day at an event in Chicago.
"This wasn't the first time we've played five games in one day and we've been practicing pretty much every night," Coughlin said. "When you practice almost every night, you're able to pick up more things. We do have some speed on this team and we're very comfortable with the ball. A lot of teams get anxious, but our guys know it's about working from side to side."
The Westerville Worms 15s rugby program split into two teams, with North getting its most experienced players and South being comprised mostly of underclassmen.
North defeated UA three times during the regular season, but in the City tournament July 11 at Ohio State, UA defeated North 26-0 in the championship game. Ben Williams, a 2012 Big Walnut graduate who will play for the Buckeyes, did not play for North in the City final but returned for the state tournament.
Williams had 123 total points to lead the league in scoring ahead of Barlow and Westerville South's Abu Daramy (40).
Also on Westerville North's roster were Joe Copeland, Garrett Dandrea, Lucas Garcia, Calan Gibank, Corey Gibson, Jason Griffith, Andrew Henderson, Joey Johnson, Nate Seawell, Nick Shyrock and Lucas Swysgood. Adam Dobner, one of the squad's top players, was among three players for his team who did not play at state.
"I give UA credit," said John English, who runs the Worms' program and coached Westerville North. "UA is a very good sevens team. They had a better understanding of the sevens game. I had three rookies who began playing it six weeks ago. I think playing sevens in the summer is a great thing. I was able to get a few more athletes to come out and it definitely helps the sport of rugby."
Westerville South led Westerville North 12-0 before eventually falling in a semifinal.
Daramy and Ethan Frank were among the standouts for South, according to coach Travis Budd.
"They all played hard," Budd said. "It's hard to lose, but they came back to get third."